A French court convicted Congolese singer Koffi Olomide’ of the statutory rape of one of his former dancers when she was 15. However, it appears Olomide will not spend any time in prison.
Instead, the singer received a two-year suspended sentence and will have to pay 5,000 euros in damages to the former dancer. The court ordered him to pay an additional 5,000 euro fine for helping three of his former dancers enter France illegally.
Prosecutors sought a seven-year prison sentence but the court dismissed assault and kidnapping charges Olomide also faced. The two-year suspended prison sentence means that the singer will only face arrest if he commits further offences.
Olomidé’s lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny hailed the ruling as a ‘complete victory’, adding that ‘the accusation’s entire case fell apart.’
Four of Olomidé’s former dancers claimed that he sexually assaulted them several times between 2002 and 2006. They claimed that the assaults happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as in France, including an incident outside Paris. In that instance, the dancers accused Olimide of holding them against their will.
Facing a French arrest warrant, he fled to DR Congo after initially saying he would appear at the trial to defend himself. However, he failed to show up for the trial, which was held behind closed doors at the women’s request.
This case is not Olomide’s only brush with the law. In 2008 he was accused of kicking a cameraman from DR Congo’s private RTGA television station. He was charged in 2012 with aggravated rape although the charges were later reduced. Also in 2012, a DR Congo court convicted him of assaulting his producer. He received a three-month suspended prison sentence for that offence. In 2016, Kenya deported him and permanently revoked his visa after a video emerged of an alleged assault incident at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in which he appeared to be kicking one of his female dancers. And most recently in 2018, Zambia ordered his arrest after he allegedly assaulted a photographer.